Can You Just Paint Over Mold?

Mold can be a massive issue for homeowners. Not only does it look dirty and unappealing, but it can even cause issues for your health. 

Mold can cause allergy-like symptoms such as a runny nose and congestion, eye irritation and skin rashes, headaches, coughing, and even lung irritation. 

Can You Just Paint Over Mold

Therefore, it’s really not a good idea to simply paint over mold. 

By doing this, you might get rid of the sight of the mold for a few weeks or months, but you won’t be killing its harmful properties. 

Many landlords and homeowners paint over mold because they see this as the cheaper and easier option. However, this isn’t a solution in the long term, and before long, your mold will resurface in the form of chipping, bubbling, or cracking paint. 

You could end up with a more expensive job than if you’d dealt with the issue when it first emerged, so you’re definitely better off removing the mold before you start painting. 

This is the safest and most sensible option for your family or your tenants. You should also make it your priority to find out what is causing the mold. 

Mold and mildew thrive in moist environments and are frequently caused by roof and foundation leaks, high interior humidity, overflowing washing machines, and more severe forms of flooding. 

Get to the source of the issue to ensure the mold doesn’t return.

Can I paint over mold with Kilz?

Despite the name of their products, KILZ paint and primers won’t actually ‘kill’ mold, but they will prevent mold from returning and kill the mold stain’s ability to show through the final coat of your paint.

The formula traps the agents causing discoloration, and prevents the mold spores from migrating to the surface of the paint. 

Kilz is also good for concealing stains from previous mold and mildew, though you should always clean these before applying the primer or paint. After the area is cleaned and dry, you can then apply a stain-blocking primer, like KILZ-2 All-Purpose Multi-Surface Sealer and Stain Blocker.

But let’s be clear on something: this product does not claim to eradicate mold, and you should always seek to remove the mold before using such a product. KILZ  contains an EPA-based registered mildewcide that aims to prevent the growth of mold on the surface of the primer.

This primer acts as a barrier, preventing underlying stains from seeping through to the color layer of the paint. This will block out any left-over mold and mildew blemishes (after cleaning), as well as water-based splotches, smoke stains, and even blood. 

What happens if you paint over mildew?

Painting over mildew is a short-term fix, and the mildew will eventually grow through the new coat of paint, which will make subsequent cleaning and maintenance more difficult. 

Whether you’re dealing with mold or mildew, always clean the area before painting. 

Wash the affected surface with a mixture of household bleach and water (three parts water to one part bleach) or use a household cleanser specifically designed to kill mildew.

Can I paint over anti-mold paint?

If you’re using an anti-mold paint such as Ronseal, do not paint over it after applying the final coat. 

If you have a stain or mark you’re trying to conceal, simply try scrubbing the mark away, as this paint is pretty durable and won’t be easily worn away. 

If you do paint over your anti-mold paint, this will prevent the properties from working, and will therefore leave your wall vulnerable to further mold infestation. 

When can I paint over Zinsser Mold killing primer?

Zinsser’s Mold Killing Primer is designed to kill all existing mold, mildew, moss, fungi, odor-causing bacteria, and any other fungal organisms. It will also prevent mold, mildew, and other fungal organisms from forming on the paint film. 

After applying your Zinsser Mold Killing primer, it will need to be left to dry for between 30 minutes to an hour.

For optimal protection, Zinsser recommends applying a topcoat within 72 hours of application, and it will take about 7 days for the primer to develop full adhesion and hardness.

Getting rid of mold 

Before you apply any mold-resistant paints or primers, it is important to get rid of the existing mold so that your paint doesn’t peel or the mold resurface. 

  1. You need to find the source of the mold and the issue that’s causing it: this could be excess moisture of some sort, in the form of a leak, poor ventilation, or flooding. Get the issue dealt with by a professional if necessary - particularly if it’s a big job. 
  1. Mold is dangerous, so always take precautions when it comes to removing it. Wear a mask and gloves, and scrub mold off hard surfaces with detergent and water before drying with a rag. If the surface is too porous to remove the mold, you may need to replace it entirely. 
  1. There are also powerful mold cleaners specially formulated with mold-killing ingredients, or there are natural alternatives such as vinegar that you can consider. 
  1. Always, always clean the area and remove the mold before painting. You should also ensure the wall is thoroughly dry, too. If you don’t remove the mold first, the paint will simply peel and those hideous mold spores will re-emerge. 
  1. Once the area is thoroughly clean and you’ve removed the traces of the mold (and identified the cause), you can then use mold-resistant primers and paint to prevent it from re-emerging. Though don’t use this as an alternative option to actually fixing the issue that is causing the mold! 

Final Verdict

Mold is unpleasant and inconvenient, so it’s easy to understand the temptation to simply paint over it. However, trust us when we tell you that this isn’t a good idea. You need to kill the mold and remove it before applying paint, otherwise, the spores will simply come back to haunt you. 

It’s important to recognize that mold is an organism - not a stain - and so covering the stain does not simply prevent it from spreading or causing further harm to your health. 

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